AL state health officer encouraging flu shot to stop widespread outbreak

AL state health officer encouraging flu shot to stop widespread outbreak
We're in the midst of a severe flu season with widespread cases in 49 states

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Alabama Department of Public Health's acting state health officer says the flu continues to spread at a high rate, especially in larger cities in Alabama.

"Right now, we have increased levels influenza-like activity throughout the entire state," Dr. Scott Harris explained the current situation in Alabama is serious but is also improving. "Jefferson County and Mobile County right now are reporting that they're about 90 percent filled. That's better than they were. The other Public Health districts in the state are better than that, they have more than 10 percent available beds."

ADPH has been notified of both adult and pediatric deaths suspected to be flu-related, but according to Harris those deaths have not been confirmed as being flu-related at this time.

"We have a process that we go through with our epidemiology staff to determine whether those deaths are actually confirmed. And that involves looking through medical records, in some cases talking to providers or even the families, and looking at laboratory studies."

Doctors still say the best way to prevent the flu is to get the vaccine.

"It's not too late to get it," said Harris. "It takes a couple of weeks before it takes full effect, but we're looking at several more weeks of flu season, so if you've not had the vaccine it's time to get it now."

Many county Health Departments are holding free flu shot clinics. Click this link for more information on times and locations.

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